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Pinal County, in conjunction with the county’s Department of Housing and Workforce Development, will conduct a series of public meetings throughout the county.

IF YOU GO
What: Housing Consolidated Plan & Action Plan
When: Jan. 14, 2 p.m.
Where: Maricopa City Hall, 9700 W. Civic Center Plaza

The meetings are regarding the FY2019–2024 Consolidated Plan and 2019 Action Plan. The U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) requires Pinal County to publish a five-year Consolidated Plan, along with an annual “Action Plan” outlining the use of U.S. Housing and Urban Development (HUD) funds for the Community Development Block Grant Program (CDBG).

The Department of Housing and Workforce Development will collect information on the housing, community, and economic development needs for the county and assemble a consolidated strategic plan for 2019-24. The Maricopa meeting will be Jan. 14 at 2 p.m. at City Hall, 9700 W. Civic Center Plaza.

All Pinal County citizens are invited to voice their comments regarding housing/community development needs, strategies to meet identified needs, and identifying barriers to those needs.

Public input is an essential component of this planning effort. It is the policy of Pinal County to ensure services are meaningfully accessible to qualified individuals with disabilities in accordance with the Americans with Disabilities Act. Upon request, auxiliary aids and accommodations are available to individuals with disabilities.

Persons seeking accommodation should contact Pinal County at http://www.pinalcountyaz.gov/Housing/Pages/Home.aspx or call 520-866-6275. Individuals with a hearing impairment can contact 711.

Rep. Mark Finchem

By Rep. Mark Finchem

HB2002 is a response to calls from parents and teachers to end political activism in the K-12 classroom. Parents expect teachers to teach, not to indoctrinate. There is a teachable moment here.

Contrary to what leftist political pundits and apologists for injecting politics everywhere assert, we employ teachers to inspire curiosity in science, and to foster competency in reading, mathematics and writing, not to promote ideological obedience. In essence there is an agency relationship created in the employment relationship. The claim that HB2002, pre-filed for the 2019 Legislative session, silences the First Amendment right of teacher free speech is a false claim, fabricated for headlines. The claim is unfounded, and actually runs counter to the 2015 9th Circuit Court of Appeals ruling in Arce V. Douglas.

In Arce, Judge Wallace Tashima ruled, “state limitations on school curricula that restrict a student’s access to materials otherwise available may be upheld only where they are reasonably related to legitimate pedagogical concerns—especially in a context such as this, where the local school board has already determined that the material at issue adds value to its local school curriculum. Granting wider discretion has the potential to substantially hinder a student’s ability to develop the individualized insight and experience needed to meaningfully exercise her rights of speech, press, and political freedom. Pico, 457 U.S. at 867,” (Tashima, 2015, Pg. 27, Pa.1). In short, teachers are not permitted to evangelize their personal political positions, but must teach narrowly to the approved curriculum.

I respect teachers and the teaching profession. Teachers play a critical role in our society; they are often trusted advisors, mentors and influencers of the next generation of leaders, and society at large. It is shocking that individuals occupying positions of trust in the eyes of parents and our children, object to standards of professional conduct. Professionals including attorneys, accountants, realtors, architects and even journalists subscribe to their respective Codes of Ethics. It sets these vocations aside as professions. As professionals, teachers should follow the lead of most other professions and embrace a code of ethics.

Over the last two years, hundreds of parents have demanded relief from political activities in Arizona K-12 classrooms, and the bullying that goes with resistance. Since the introduction of HB2002, many teachers have expressed support for the call to end what they [emphasis added] call, “political indoctrination” in the K-12 classroom. The most common statement recorded from teachers is unnerving: “Finally someone is taking action.”

Professions adopt Codes of Ethics, to promote credibility for their practitioners. Such a “Code” is significant as an acknowledgement that the professionals in their ranks conduct themselves in such a way as to elevate the work they do beyond a task. A code of conduct that governs the work that one will do, how they will do it, and the line that one will not cross in the course of exercising their craft, is what defines value.

Those who oppose ethics in the classroom claim there is no political indoctrination, so if that is indeed the case then there should be no fear of a Code of Ethics that holds people accountable for the expectations set by their principals in the agency relationship, in this case the parents of the children they are entrusted to teach.

Herein lies the crux of the matter, parents expect teachers to teach, not to indoctrinate by way of their own political persuasions. We employ them to inspire curiosity and learning, not obedience to a specific ideology. Recall the lessons from Animal Farm and Lord of the Flies; such books reveal the cost of teaching obedience over standing for freedom of thought. The K-12 classroom is not an ideological playground for adults, and our children are not their political play toys.

Parents are walking away from public schools at an increasing rate, and giving many reasons. This is one of their major concerns. I encourage political engagement, I encourage political speech, just not in the classroom. Like religion, teachers must remember, their customers – parents – often have a different worldview that must be respected, lest public schools become irrelevant. For those who can’t show the professional discipline necessary to leave their political speech out of the classroom, they need to find another job.


Mark Finchem, Republican, is an Arizona legislator representing District 11. He introduced House Bill 2002 last week

 

Reference: Tashima, W., (2015). Arce v. Douglas, 793 F.3d 968 (9th Cir.2015)
https://cdn.ca9.uscourts.gov/datastore/opinions/2015/07/07/13-15657.pdf

 

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The city’s annual free fishing day is Jan. 12 with registration at 8 a.m. and fishing starting at 9 a.m. at Copper Sky Lake. Fishing licenses are not required for those registered in the event, but fishing is readily available at both town ponds throughout the year.

What kind of fish will you encounter at Copper Sky and Pacana Park?

Bass are the most sought-after fish among U.S. anglers, according to U.S. Fish & Wildlife, but they are getting harder to find in community waters. According to Arizona Game & Fish Department, largemouth bass in particular cost four times as much as trout and nearly six times as much as catfish to stock. AGFD tries to stock bass at least once a year, usually in spring.

Bluegill, like black bass, are members of the sunfish family. They are often stocked in spring. Popular as pan fish for humans, they are also sought by largemouth bass and catfish looking for a nice dinner, so they tend to hide around underwater forms.

Catfish are omnivorous bottom-feeders and one of the most instantly recognizable fish. Anglers also consider them a fun sport fish. They will be stocked in Maricopa again in late March, according to AGFD.

Trout are also a popular game fish across the country and the focus of Arizona hatcheries. They again will be stocked in Maricopa waters in January and February.

White Amur, named for the Amur River in Asia, are commonly called grass carp outside of the United States. The Amurs do well in standing bodies of water like ponds and lakes. They can be difficult to catch and can be fighters once they’re on the line.

The city’s fishing waters are typically open from sunrise to 11 p.m., and anglers can fish for free year-round. Anglers age 10 and over must have a license to fish.


This item appears in the January issue of InMaricopa.

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Free fishing, classic comedy and a local history lesson are among the things to do this week in Maricopa. For details on these listings, or to add your own, visit InMaricopa.com/Calendar.

MONDAY

“The ’49ers meet the Maricopa and Akimel O’Odham” presentation hosted by Maricopa Historical Society is at 5:30 p.m. at Maricopa Public Library, 41600 W. Smith-Enke Road.

Narcotics Anonymous is at 7 p.m. at Maricopa Community Church, 44977 W. Hathaway Ave.

TUESDAY

Celebrate Recovery Coffee & Karaoke is at 5 p.m. at Maricopa Community Church, 44977 W. Hathaway Ave.

Heritage Academy Job Fair is at 5 p.m. at HomeSmart Success, 19756 N. John Wayne Parkway, Suite 100.

MHS Girls’ Soccer vs. Willow Canyon at 6 p.m. at Maricopa High School, 45012 W. Honeycutt Ave.

MHS Boys’ Basketball vs. Williams Field at 7 p.m. at Maricopa High School, 45012 W. Honeycutt Ave.

WEDNESDAY

MEDA and City Council Joint Meeting is at 2 p.m. at Global Water, 22590 N. Powers Parkway.

Harrah’s Club 777 Toastmasters meet at 3 p.m. at Harrah’s Ak-Chin Casino, 15406 Maricopa Road.

Maricopa Police Explorer Post Meeting is at 5 p.m. at Maricopa High School, 45012 W. Honeycutt Ave.

MUSD Governing Board Meeting is at 6:30 p.m. at Maricopa Unified School District Administration Building, 44150 W. Maricopa-Casa Grande Hwy.

‘The Good Doctor’ by Neil Simon is performed by Maricopa Community Theatre at 7 p.m. at Leading Edge Academy, 18700 N. Porter Road.

MHS Boys’ Basketball vs. North Canyon at 7 p.m. at Maricopa High School, 45012 W. Honeycutt Ave.

THURSDAY

Chamber of Commerce Breakfast is at 7 a.m. at Central Arizona College – Maricopa Campus, 17945 N. Regent Drive.

A+ Charter Schools Open House is at 6 p.m. at Leading Edge Academy, 18700 N. Porter Road.

A Ray of Hope meeting of Narcotics Anonymous is at 7 p.m. at Ak-Chin Social Services, 48227 W. Farrell Road.

‘The Good Doctor’ by Neil Simon is performed by Maricopa Community Theatre at 7 p.m. at Leading Edge Academy, 18700 N. Porter Road.

FRIDAY

Strength & Hope Al-Anon Meeting is at 7 p.m. at Community of Hope Church, 45295 W. Honeycutt Ave.

MHS Girls’ Soccer vs. Paradise Valley at 6 p.m. at Maricopa High School, 45012 W. Honeycutt Ave.

‘The Good Doctor’ by Neil Simon is performed by Maricopa Community Theatre at 7 p.m. at Leading Edge Academy, 18700 N. Porter Road.

MHS Boys’ Basketball vs. Higley at 7 p.m. at Maricopa High School, 45012 W. Honeycutt Ave.

SATURDAY

Family Fishing Day registration starts at 8 a.m. at Copper Sky Regional Park, Maricopa,

‘The Good Doctor’ by Neil Simon is performed by Maricopa Community Theatre at 2 p.m. and 7 p.m. at Leading Edge Academy, 18700 N. Porter Road.

SUNDAY

Narcotics Anonymous meets at 7 p.m. at Maricopa Community Church, 44977 W. Hathaway Ave.

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When it’s time to sell or invest in a home, Maricopans have a unique opportunity to benefit from using a local agent who is so committed to selling a home that he’s willing to pay out of his own pocket for improvements.

Dayv Morgan of HomeSmart Success offers to cover the costs of renovating and updating a home before putting it on the market, in order to increase its value and marketability.

All homes experience wear-and tear over the years, and Dayv counters that by installing new carpet, fresh paint and even full kitchen remodels when necessary. The selling price can then be increased to cover, and usually exceed, the cost of the improvements.

“Move-in ready homes sell much faster and for a significantly higher amount,” he commented. “When a buyer walks into a home that looks and feels like it was just built, because it has new paint, flooring, and appliances, they will pay a premium.”

Dayv, who sells over 100 homes annually, advised that such improvements not only help the seller make more money but also benefit the buyer as well.

“Most buyers in Maricopa don’t have the money, after they buy a house, to fix it up. They would much rather pay a slightly higher price and finance the upgrades through the mortgage. If they paid $10,000 for improvements and put it on a credit card they would end up paying 14 to 18 percent interest. If that $10,000 is instead done by the seller and included in the price of mortgage, now they’re only paying 4 or 5 percent.”

The program Dayv developed allows a seller to access his pool of preferred contractors, with whom he has negotiated reduced fees, or sellers can use their own referrals to make the repairs.

Regardless of who completes the work, he pays up front for the improvements and is reimbursed from the proceeds of the sale, without charging any interest to the seller.

The idea came to him after seeing companies like Open Door and HomeVestors “low-ball” sellers to buy their home as-is, and then after making a few cosmetic improvements they would list the home on the MLS and resell it for a profit. He was surprised to see how much equity owners were giving away by selling their home direct to an investor. As a listing agent he created a process that allows sellers to “flip their own house” and keep the profit themselves.

“It doesn’t cost the owners anything out of pocket, and it increases their return,” Dayv noted. “It’s a win-win for everyone involved — the buyer, the seller, myself as the Realtor, and even the city of Maricopa as it helps the neighborhood values to increase.”

A 10-year resident of Maricopa, Dayv Morgan lives in the Palo Brea subdivision with his wife and four sons.

 

480-251-4231

dayvmorgan@gmail.com

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Judge Lyle Riggs (far right) was among the county's justices of the peace sworn in Friday.

Pinal County’s recently elected justices of the peace and constables were sworn into office in ceremonies in Florence Friday. Western Pinal Justice Court’s Lyle Riggs, who faced no opposition in his re-election bid, was worn in by Presiding Judge Stephen F. McCarville. Newcomer Glenn Morrison was sworn in as Western Pinal constable by Maricopa Councilmember Vincent Manfredi.


Vincent Manfredi is minority owner of InMaricopa.

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Children’s Learning Adventure helps their students reach educational and personal goals by providing them with all the tools needed to succeed. The STEAM based childcare center offers unique environments designed to capture a child’s imagination and encourages exploration. Their proprietary curriculum is STEAM based and seamlessly integrated into every classroom. Each campus offers specialty classrooms and an outdoor playground that encourages our students to actively engage in the learning process.

Children’s Learning Adventure’s curriculum ensures daily exposure to STEAM-based learning through multiple learning environments designed to provide authentic learning activities in a meaningful context.

“Our goal is to maximize every child’s learning capacity by building upon their prior knowledge and encouraging them to actively apply what they have learned in their homerooms in a variety of different context specifically created to engage the student and provide meaningful opportunities to explore, apply, analyze, and construct their understanding of the concepts.” – Rick Sodja, CEO

Studies have shown that a child’s learning environment can directly affect their learning and overall educational experience, so Children’s Learning Adventure has created their campuses with this in mind. Every school has been created to be engaging, exciting, and fun. They strive to make the learning experience an adventure and encourage their students to actively participate in the learning process in a safe and welcoming environment.

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Children’s Learning Adventure also hosts monthly Open Houses to share their learning environment with every family! Maricopa’s next upcoming Open House is on Jan. 12. To learn  more  about  Children’s  Learning  Adventure please visit   http://www.childrenslearningadventure.com.

 

Maricopa saw several businesses come to town in 2018, many of them in new buildings. Our readers expressed excited anticipation over the possibilities of more shopping or dining opportunities and possible jobs as well as a bit of impatience with the whole process. Here are some of our top-read economic development stories:


5. Denny’s Restaurant caused much curiosity during its construction on a seemingly small lot and then more enthusiasm when it started hiring. It finally opened its doors in February near the southeast corner of John Wayne Parkway and Smith-Enke Road.


4. Those involved weren’t happy about the situation, but readers were amused when the new Dollar Tree opened in May and then immediately had to close for a couple of hours as city inspectors did their job.


3. With the many businesses opening, there were also some closures. That included Zoyo Yogurt in Maricopa Station. However, readers were happy to see Rosati’s Pizza immediately announce its intention to take over the spot. It opened in December.


2. Harrah’s Ak-Chin Casino was majorly transformed in 2018 in its continuing expansion. It added a skybridge to UltraStar Multi-tainment Center, opened the restaurant Chop Block & Brew and opened a spa. It is also adding ballroom space and 200 hotel rooms.


1. Hands down, the most reader interest garnered by an economic development story was the series of business openings in Edison Pointe, developed by Vintage Partners. 2019 sees the openings of IHOP and BrakesPlus there as well.


This story appears in the January issue of InMaricopa.

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A diverse collection of sports stories in Maricopa were interesting for different reasons in 2018. Some were about the new and shiny, others about overcoming challenges while the top story was flat-out victory.

Brandon Harris and RaShawn Calvert are among Maricopa Unified’s new coaches hired this year.

5. New coaches and athletic directors were hired this year at Maricopa High School and Sequoia Pathway Academy. At MHS, Brandon Harris became the varsity football head coach while RaShawn Calvert was hired as girls’ basketball head coach and Laura Logan launched the swim team. Former boys’ basketball coach Jake Neill returned as AD. At Sequoia Pathway, Glen Hale took over the football and boys’ basketball teams and was named AD.


4. Ak-Chin Southern Dunes, one of the top-rated golf courses in the state, was inundated with floodwaters from Vekol Wash in October, causing the course to close for nearly a month. General Manager Brady Wilson and his staff soldiered on, keeping the pro shop and restaurant open while water was pumped off the fairways.

Brady Wilson faced flooding challenges as general manager of Ak-Chin Southern Dunes.

3. In Arizona Interscholastic Association competition, MHS football earned a spot in the playoffs out of arguably the toughest section in the state. Sequoia Pathway’s varsity football team finished second in the Canyon Athletic Association’s open division, and the Puma volleyball team reached the final four with two players named all-state.


2. Even readers who don’t usually follow high school sports took interest in this year’s Homecoming game at MHS after a fracas between head coaches capped off the Rams’ 55-0 win. Central suspended its coach long-term, Maricopa’s Harris sat out a game, and both teams were given warnings by AIA.

Photo by Jeffrey Hazlett

  1. The MHS 4×100-meter boys’ relay team won the state gold medal in Division II in May, running the fastest circuit of any team of any division in the Arizona Track & Field Championships in 2018. Longman Pyne, Jacob Cowing, P.J. Austin and Frank Jones ran their lap in 41.51, breaking their previous school record by nearly 2 seconds.

Few events are planned in Maricopa for the end of the New Year break. To see upcoming events or to add your own, visit InMaricopa.com/Calendar.

MONDAY

UltraStar GLOW Party for New Year’s Eve starts at 6 p.m. at UltraStar Multi-tainment Center, 16000 N. Maricopa Road.

Narcotics Anonymous meets at 7 p.m. at Maricopa Community Church, 44977 W. Hathaway Ave.

TUESDAY

New Year’s Day

WEDNESDAY

Harrah’s Club 777 Toastmasters meet at 3 p.m. at Harrah’s Ak-Chin Casino, 15406 N. Maricopa Road.

Maricopa Police Explorer Post Meeting is at 5 p.m. at Maricopa High School, 45012 W. Honeycutt Ave.

THURSDAY

A Ray of Hope meeting of Narcotics Anonymous is at 7 p.m. at Ak-Chin Social Services, 48227 W. Farrell Road.

FRIDAY

Strength & Hope Al-Anon Meeting is at 7 p.m. at Community of Hope Church, 45295 W. Honeycutt Ave.

SUNDAY

Narcotics Anonymous meets at 7 p.m. at Maricopa Community Church, 44977 W. Hathaway Ave.

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Here are some favorite photos from throughout 2018 of Maricopa and Maricopans. Click each photo to learn the story behind each.

JANUARY 2018

A large crowd gathered Jan. 13 for the All-Arizona Poetry Slam, which even drew a crowd outside the window of Honeycutt Coffee. Photo by Raquel Hendrickson

Jacob Cowing, a junior at the time,, took flight for the Maricopa High School varsity basketball team. Photo by Raquel Hendrickson

The annual Martin Luther King Jr. celebration became a sold-out event at Copper Sky. Photo by Michelle Chance

FEBRUARY 2018


Navy veteran Harry Dieffenbach showed off his scratchbuilt ship models at Province. He later passed away. Photo by Victor Moreno

Members of the Maricopa High School Air Force Junior ROTC were in good form during a photo shoot for a story on Dylan Hill’s (far left) nomination to two service academies. She chose West Point. Photo by Joycelyn Cabrera

Chantel Holguin and the Maricopa High School varsity softball team started their season with a new coach. Photo by Michelle Chance

The annual Copa Color Run was again a great opportunity for colorful moments. Photo by Raquel Hendrickson

MARCH 2018

Thad Miller, a home-town kid, talked about his transition from assistant to interim to official principal at Maricopa Wells Middle School. Photo by Mason Callejas

Butterfield Elementary School’s Alan Gofron allowed himself to be taped to a wall. Photo by Michelle Chance

Salsa Festival was not just a challenge for those trying to make the best salsa in town but also those eating the hottest peppers, like champ Ricardo Martinez. Photo by Raquel Hendrickson

Nico Bandin got an eyeful of baseball playing for the Maricopa High School varsity team. Photo by Raquel Hendrickson

APRIL 2018

Teacher walk-ins brought attention to education funding during the Legislature’s budget talks and eventually led to local teachers joining a statewide teacher walk-out. Photo by Mason Callejas

Jacob Dolph rode the air while trying out the Maricopa Motorsports Park. Photo by Victor Moreno

Teens did some role-play the annual “Don’t Crash the Prom” event to deter drinking and driving on Prom Night. Photo by Victor Moreno

Singing in a supporting role, Maricopa High School’s Britney Montgomery was a finalist for the state high school musical awards for “The Baker’s Wife.” Photo by Raquel Hendrickson

MAY 2018

The Maricopa Militia, part of a National Youth Sports league, recruited for players. Photo by Victor Moreno

Freelance photographer Victor Moreno shows his subjects, Sequoia Pathway graduating seniors Christiana Holguin, Ethan Armendariz and Fernanda Garcia, their portraits during a photo shoot. Photo by Raquel Hendrickson

Maricopa High School hurdler Logan Taylor competed in the Arizona Track & Field Championships in the 110-meter and 300-meter finals while his teammates won the state gold in the 4X100 relay. Photo by Raquel Hendrickson

Maricopa Unified School District’s Native American Education Program and its parent advisory committee (NAPAC) hosted their year-end Family Night with colorful performances. Photo by Mason Callejas

Family and friends cheered on their graduates during commencement exercises at Ram Stadium. Photo by Victor Moreno

JUNE 2018

Tiffany Yazzie, weaver of Navajo rugs, showed her technique for a textile feature. Photo by Mason Callejas

MHS Vice Principal Heidi Vratil stood in a busy hallway for a feature after coming through administrative turmoil. Photo by Mason Callejas

A crocodile smiled for the camera as Wildman Phil Rakoci showed off his collection of live animals for kids at UltraStar Multi-tainment Center. Photo by Michelle Chance

JULY 2018

Rick Brower displayed guayule biologic compounds at Beem Biologics as operations manager. Photo by Mason Callejas

Rochelle Raya, member of Arizona Blues Hall of Fame, performed with Sistahs Too for the Great American 4th at Copper Sky. Photo by Raquel Hendrickson

Employees at Volkswagen’s Maricopa test site packed meals for the nonprofit Generosity Feeds. Submitted photo

Kyra Richards prepares paint for a VanGo 4 Kids mural. Photo by Michelle Chance

More than 70 Maricopa kids received free professional coaching on football drills and life lessons in a USA Football FUNdamentals clinic. Photo by Michelle Chance

AUGUST 2018

The Parks brothers – Tanner, Cutter and David – described their experience in the American Poolplayers Association Junior Championships. Photo by Mason Callejas

SEPTEMBER 2018

Long-time Maricopan Oliver Anderson sat for a portrait while sharing his memories. Photo by Mason Callejas

Children faced the sun waiting for the MHS Homecoming parade along Honeycutt Avenue. Photo by Raquel Hendrickson

Pregame excitement met a September sunset at Pacana Park as Sequoia Pathway prepared to host a football game. Photo by Raquel Hendrickson

Caleb Feiles, age 6, Brown Belt Leadership Student, ATA, at Kids Day Maricopa, Sept. 15, 2018. Photo by Angelica Ramis

OCTOBER 2018

A rainy autumn delayed work on the overpass but created reflecting pools for the early forms of the structure. Photo by Raquel Hendrickson

Rain interfered with the Mud Run in October, though two rounds were completed before a delay was declared. Photo by Raquel Hendrickson

Among the prize-winners on the Mysterious Mansion Mayhem tour was a Hotel Hell on Backus Street. Photo by Raquel Hendrickson

NOVEMBER 2018

Maricopans of all ages turned out to celebrate at the Veterans Day Parade. Photo by Raquel Hendrickson

Chef Larry Canepa was among the participants in the Ak-Chin Maricopa STEAM Day event. Photo by Raquel Hendrickson

After the event was privately hosted for 10 years, the City of Maricopa took on the production of this year’s Turkey Trot on Thanksgiving Day. Photo by Raquel Hendrickson

DECEMBER 2018

Bull riding was part of the action during the junior rodeo that was part of Ak-Chin Masik Tas celebration. Photo by Jim Headley

Maricopa High School Marching Band performed for Pass in Review, with the sousaphone casting a reflection. Photo by Raquel Hendrickson

Ahead of Christmas, the Desert Sun Performing Arts GEMS performed for their annual Sugar Plum Tea. Photo by Raquel Hendrickson

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Submitted photo

A Maricopa High School baseball player has signed on to be a member of the inaugural baseball team for Park University – Gilbert.

Nico Bandin, an infielder, has played on the varsity team since his freshman team. Through his first three season with the Rams, he has a .927 fielding average, 34 hits and 20 runs batted in.

Park U – Gilbert is a new campus sprung from the flagship campus in Parkville, Missouri, accredited by the Higher Learning Commission. The university offers bachelor’s degrees in 48 areas. Park is recruiting athletes for the 2019-20 intercollegiate seasons and is applying for membership in the National Association of Intercollegiate Athletics for small colleges.

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 The implementation of STEAM based curriculum is a meaningful way to prepare children for everyday life. Children’s Learning Adventure-M encourages intellectual growth through engaging, hands-on STEAM activities. Teachers at Children’s Learning Adventure encourage children to actively participate and explore in the various learning activities. By using this unique approach to teaching science, technology, engineering, the arts, and mathematics; their students develop the necessary critical thinking and problem-solving skills they need to be successful inside and outside the classroom.

Children’s Learning Adventure implements STEAM based curriculum, that models a child’s natural learning style, and is seamless integrated into every classroom. Children can grow, learn, explore, and apply new skills and concepts every day. STEAM based learning shows students that learning is a natural part of the day. Every subject, topic of discussion, and experience is an opportunity to learn something new. Questions, curiosity, and hand-on learning experiences are valued. “This approach to learning encourages students to enjoy and value the learning process and will have a positive and lasting impact throughout their academic career”, says CEO Rick Sodja.

The first few years of a child’s life is a time of incredible growth and development. Positive learning experiences in a variety of settings, such as the home and a quality childcare center, is essential. Children’s Learning Adventure supports a child’s understanding of themselves, through the development of their self-esteem and independence; and others, through structured and nurturing learning experiences that guide the child to see the world around them and develop empathy, patience, perseverance, and other important life skills. Purposeful involvement with a quality early learning program will lead to social and academic success in the future.

Children’s Learning Adventure’s curriculum introduces their students to multiple learning environments designed to provide authentic learning activities in a meaningful context. This helps each child grow intellectually by maximizing their learning capacity. Students build upon their prior knowledge and are encouraged to actively apply what they have learned in their homerooms in a variety of different context specifically created to engage the student and provide meaningful opportunities to explore, apply, analyze, and construct their understanding of the concepts.

Children’s Learning Adventure-Maricopa is holding an Open House Saturday, January 12th from 10:00am to 1:00pm. To learn more about Children’s Learning Adventure, and to sign up for the upcoming open house, please visit www.childrenslearningadventure.com.

 

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Fast & Friendly Car Wash opened its Maricopa location on John Wayne Parkway at Hathaway Avenue in 2015 and became our fastest-growing location.

“We are in a position to grow with Maricopa. We have already purchased property on Maricopa-Casa Grande Highway (in front of Walmart) for another car wash,” co-owner Matt Dadam said. “We want to offer maximum convenience with two excellent locations in town.”

Robert Floyd has managed the location since opening day. Floyd and the rest of the team always go the extra mile to ensure a great customer experience.

“We feel the more jobs we can create locally for those who wish to live, work, and play in the city of Maricopa the better,” Dadam said.

Maricopa’s great customers, he said, help the company improve.

“Our Maricopa wash has, hands down, the best customers,” Dadam said. “People there take the time to give us open and honest feedback, and that helps us to get better at what we do.”

Fast & Friendly is family-owned and family-operated by the Dadams. Jeff and Matt (brothers) and Jack and Barbara live in Maricopa County. They jointly make business decisions and operate our business as a team effort. They currently own and operate six car wash locations in Arizona and one in Utah. As owners and operators, they are on site at wash facilities almost every day.

They are also committed to the Maricopa community.

“We are proud to have participated in many fundraising events to support the community,” Matt Dadam said. “This is something we are committed to continuing and are always interested in hearing from the community on ways we can give back.”

Car wash technology is advancing, and Fast & Friendly likes to stay at the leading edge. Keep an eye out for upgrades as they work to improve both wash equipment and chemistry to achieve the most clean, shiny and protected car possible.

“The way to success in our industry is to re-invest,” Dadam said. “Being relatively small and family-owned allows us to continuously invest in our facilities, people, and communities. I think that’s what really makes Fast & Friendly Car Wash stand out from the rest.”

FastAndFriendlyCarWash.com

Lights of Province. Photo by Dennis McCormac

The Christmas holiday keeps community activities limited this week. For details on these and other listings, or to add your own, visit InMaricopa.com/Calendar.

MONDAY

Narcotics Anonymous meets at 7 p.m. at Maricopa Community Church, 44977 W. Hathaway Ave.

Parents of Addicted Loved Ones (PAL) meet at 7 p.m. at Maricopa Behavioral Health Services, 21300 N. John Wayne Parkway, Suite 103.

Christmas Eve Service is at 7 p.m. at Maricopa Community Church, 44977 W. Hathaway Ave.

TUESDAY

Christmas

WEDNESDAY

Creative Sisterhood meets at 9 a.m. at Santa Cruz Elementary School, 19845 N. Costa del Sol Blvd.

Harrah’s Club 777 Toastmasters meet at 3 p.m. at Harrah’s Ak-Chin Casino, 15406 Maricopa Road.

Maricopa Police Explorer Post Meeting is at 5 p.m. at Maricopa High School, 45012 W. Honeycutt Ave.

THURSDAY

Seniors play Pinochle at 8:30 a.m. at Santa Cruz Elementary School, 19845 N. Costa del Sol Blvd.

Seniors play Farkle at 9 a.m. at Santa Cruz Elementary School, 19845 N. Costa del Sol Blvd.

Seniors play Canasta at 1 p.m. at Santa Cruz Elementary School, 19845 N. Costa del Sol Blvd.

A Ray of Hope meeting of Narcotics Anonymous is at 7 p.m. at Ak-Chin Social Services, 48227 W. Farrell Road.

FRIDAY

Seniors play Pinochle at 8:30 a.m. at Santa Cruz Elementary School, 19845 N. Costa del Sol Blvd.

Strength & Hope Al-Anon Meeting is at 7 p.m. at Community of Hope Church, 45295 W. Honeycutt Ave.

SUNDAY

Narcotics Anonymous is at 7 p.m. at Maricopa Community Church, 44977 W. Hathaway Ave.

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Eleven MUSD teachers achieved National Board certification, the most of any district in the state for 2018. Submitted photo

The Maricopa Unified School District leads the state in the number of new National Board Certified Teachers. Of Arizona’s 87 new NBCTs, 11 of them call Maricopa Unified home. Often referred to as the “gold standard” of achievement, NBCT certification asks educators to demonstrate standards-based evidence of the dynamic instruction that takes place in their classrooms. Teachers spend time evaluating their own instructional strategies and work purposely to adjust their practices to better meet the needs of their students.

Learn more about these MUSD teachers in the upcoming January issue of InMaricopa Magazine.

MUSD’s newest National Board Certified Teachers are:

Inez Ramirez
Grade 1 ELL
Butterfield Elementary School

Taryn Cummings
Grade 5 Teacher
Maricopa Elementary School

Janet Stensgaard
Instructional Coach
Maricopa Elementary School

Aidan Balt
English Teacher / Master Teacher
Maricopa High School

Jennifer Miller
English Teacher / Master Teacher
Maricopa High School

Katherine Persitz
English Teacher / Master Teacher
Maricopa High School

Jennifer Cameron
Grade 6 ELA Blended Learning
Maricopa Wells Middle School

Jackie Hahn
Grade 6 Math Blended Learning
Maricopa Wells Middle School

Treva Jenkins
Mentor Teacher
Maricopa Wells Middle School

Shelley Fisher
Grade 3
Pima Butte Elementary School

Staci Oliver
Grade 3
Pima Butte Elementary School

MUSD was in a 2-year partnership with the National Board for Professional Teaching to increase the number of Board Certified teachers. Research shows that National Board Certified teachers have a greater impact on student learning and achievement with their scholars outperforming their peers in other classrooms.  With their students in mind, MUSD teachers took action to further their growth and knowledge through this self-reflective certification process.

National Board Certification is a one-to five-year process that includes taking an assessment and assembling three portfolios. According to the NBPTS, completing the certification shows that each teacher knows and practices “the definitive standards of accomplished teaching.”

Certification consists of four components:

  1.    An assessment of the teacher’s content knowledge.
  2.    A portfolio showcasing student work samples and how the teacher provides feedback and reflects on student learning.
  3.    Two videos of the teacher in the classroom, showing lessons taught and the interaction with and among students demonstrating the depth of teaching and learning.
  4.    A portfolio of “reflective” work demonstrating what the teacher does outside the classroom that translates in the classroom, from collaboration to using assessments to inform instruction and learning.

National Board Certification is an investment in our teachers and our students. Earning Board Certification allows teachers to hone their practice, demonstrate their professional knowledge and reinforce their dedication to their students and their career.

 

Sponsored content

 

The first few years of a child’s life is a time of incredible growth and development. Positive learning experiences in a variety of settings, such as the home and a quality childcare center, is essential. Children’s Learning Adventure partners with parents to support a child’s understanding of themselves, through the development of their self-esteem and independence; and others, through structured and nurturing learning experiences that guide the child to see the world around them and develop empathy, patience, perseverance, and other important life skills. Purposeful involvement with a quality early learning program can lead to social and academic success in the future.

“One of the ways we encourage our students to get involved is by creating community service opportunities for all their centers to participate in together” states CEO Rick Sodja. Children’s Learning Adventure has made it a point to find community service projects for their students to participate in to give them the opportunity to learn about their community and make a difference where it matters. This encourages character building and learning more about the community that surrounds them.

Each month is focused around a different community connection. Projects have included; food drives, writing letters to children’s hospitals, fundraising, and more! This November Children’s Learning Adventure organized a canned food drive where families were encouraged to donate non-perishable food items to be donated to a local food bank. Children collected, sorted, and tracked donated items throughout the month. When children are introduced to these life skills it helps equip them with the skills they need to apply it outside of the classroom.

During the month of December Children’s Learning Adventure has chosen to a character focus on caring and providing the connection to real world opportunities for their children by considering how animals need to be cared for. Children participate in showing the act of caring for others by collecting and donating change for animals in need. The needs of animals that are in shelters and adoption centers will be discussed and explored. Students will create posters to identify the needs of the animals in these centers and to rally support for the drive. Each week students will count and graph the progress of their classrooms. This is just one of the many opportunities provided to their students to help with character building and to gain a better understanding of the importance of volunteering to serve your community.

Children’s Learning Adventure-Maricopa is holding an Open House Saturday, Jan. 12, from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. To learn more about Children’s Learning Adventure, and to sign up for the upcoming open house, please visit www.childrenslearningadventure.com .

The Petersheims: Suzanne, Brian Jr., Haley and Brian Sr.

Hometown: Pensacola, Florida
Reside in: Maricopa Meadows
Maricopan since: 2006
Occupation: Realtor
Family: Suzanne (wife) Haley (Daughter) and Brian jr (son)
Pets: 4 rescue doggies- Cooper, Charli, Sadie and Bella
Cars: Chevy Traverse and VW Tiguan
Hobbies: Team Trivia, Movies, Hot sauce and jerky making
Pet peeve: What’s a blinker?
Dream vacation: Carribean
Like most about Maricopa: This community comes together for people in need
Like least about Maricopa: 347. Nuff said!

Favorite …
Charity: ASPCA
Book: Any trivia book will do!
Movie: The Godfather
Actor: James Gandolfini
Song: Your Love- The Outfield
Musician: America
Team: FSU Seminoles
Athlete: Javier Baez- Chicago Cubs
Food: Pizza
Drink: Diet Dr. Pepper
Meal: Crawfish boil- extra spicy
Restaurant: Angry Crab or Melting Pot
Getaway: Any beach will do!
Website: www.MaricopaNewHomes.Net
Quote: Life is 10 percent what happens to you and 90 percent how you react to it. … Unknown
Words to live by: Doing the “right thing” is not always the easiest, but it is the only option
Joke: What do you call a cow with no legs? Ground Beef
Anything else we should know? I have lived in Maricopa since 2006, helping people with their real estate needs the entire time. When I am not selling homes or hanging out with the family, I am concocting either an Extremely fiery hot sauce or Crazy spicy jerky. Every family meal that I cook, I have to make 2 separate batches of whatever it is I am cooking, unfortunately not everyone in my family is addicted to spice the way that I am.
I enjoy what I do whether at work, at Ultrastar watching a movie or making a new hot sauce, and I love this town that we are in. The residents of Maricopa are extremely giving and will always help another Copian. I intend to stay as long as they will have me.

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Priscilla Behnke.

By Priscilla Behnke

I am hypercritical of Hollywood’s portrayal of teen substance abuse. It tends to be glamorized or downplayed. Teen comedies show parties where the worst that happens is vomiting in front of the heart throb or suffering a hangover.

Recently Be Awesome took its youth leaders to the movie Beautiful Boy. It’s a film based on the true story of a father and his son’s battle with addiction. It is an honest look at the pain and destruction addiction has on individuals and their families. It is hard to watch, raw, real, and they pull no punches with the pain it causes. After the film we all spoke and here are some of the takeaways we had after watching:

Danjaan Nelson, eighth grader: “First, don’t even start with all the drugs and alcohol because it will end up really bad. And don’t give up hope; there are people out there who want to help you.”

Matea Bernales, freshman: “Parents need to pay attention to their kid’s behavior and don’t ignore what’s wrong even if you really want to. Seek the help you need even if it’s a friend or family member.”

Deanna Nelson, sixth grader, was struck by how hopeless the son felt, and was glad he kept trying after he gave up and almost died: “Don’t give up. There is always hope even when you don’t feel like there is.”

Lesley Gonzales, freshman, shared that she was affected by how “he rejected help and wouldn’t take it when it was offered because his father kept trying.”

Tatyna Ware, a mentor and local college student, wanted to encourage parents with a child facing addiction to find as many resources and options as possible.

Brandi Homan, Be Awesome co-founder: “The road to recovery is hard and long and one that the individual with the problem has to face. I can’t imagine having to tell one of my children they can’t come home.”

My takeaway stemmed from a scene where the father and son smoke pot together. It’s not unusual to hear from parents that they have used with their kids in an effort to make sure they are safe when they used. The research shows an opposite effect – teens who use with their parents are more likely to use when their parents aren’t around – substances that have disastrous effects on their developing brains.

For more information on drug prevention or our youth leadership program and how to get involved visit us at www.beaweomeyouth.life. You can contact us at pbehnke@beawesomeyouth.life for more information and resources.

 Priscilla Behnke is director of Be Awesome Youth Council.


This column appears in the December issue of InMaricopa.

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Supervisor Anthony Smith

County officials from across the state honored Pinal County Supervisor Anthony Smith for his outstanding service as President of the County Supervisors Association (CSA) at the organization’s Board of Directors meeting in November.

“It has been an absolute privilege to serve as president of this outstanding organization over the past year,” Smith said. “The work of CSA is essential to supporting local county operations throughout Arizona, and I am thankful that by working together counties had a very successful year at the Arizona State Capitol.”

Incoming CSA President and Yuma County Supervisor Russell McCloud lauded Smith for strengthening the partnership between county elected officials and state law-makers, stating: “Supervisor Smith’s leadership contributed directly to CSA’s success during the last legislative session. He is passionate about county officials engaging in the legislative process. He knows it’s the best way to help legislators understand the impacts of state policies, like if a bill increases costs to the county tax-payer or impedes local ability to be responsive to our communities. We followed his lead and CSA had one of its most productive legislative sessions in many years.”

Under Smith’s leadership, CSA worked with the governor and state legislators to address important issues impacting county finances and operations. Most notably, the state provided Arizona’s counties more than $20 million in financial relief by addressing recession-era policies that diverted county tax dollars to fund obligations of the state general fund. Also, legislators substantially amended or rejected over 30 proposals based on concerns raised by county supervisors.

“Serving as CSA’s president was an outstanding learning experience,” Smith said. “I am grateful for what we accomplished and for the inspiring support I have received from my colleagues across Arizona. I am looking forward to building on our successes in the years to come.”

“Supervisor Smith is a passionate and dedicated public servant and it was a privilege to work alongside him this year,” CSA Executive Director Craig Sullivan said. “His leadership and drive helped counties forge a production partnership with the state and that really helps government better serve the people of Arizona.”

CSA is a non-partisan research and advocacy organization representing the 61 county supervisors leading Arizona’s 15 counties. CSA serves as a forum for county leaders to address important issues facing local constituents and as a critical liaison between local county officials and the state and federal governments.

Important meetings, a job fair for a prospective charter school and, of course, Santa Claus are part of this week’s activities in Maricopa. For details on these and other listings, or to add your own, visit InMaricopa.com/Calendar.

MONDAY

Seniors play Pinochle at 8:30 a.m. at Santa Cruz Elementary School, 19845 N. Costa del Sol Blvd.

Senior Bowling is at 10 a.m. at UltraStar Multi-tainment Center, 16000 N. Maricopa Road.

Age-Friendly Maricopa Advisory Committee meets at 4 p.m. at City Hall, 39700 W. Civic Center Plaza.

MUSD Governing Board Special Meeting is at 5 p.m. at Maricopa Unified School District Administration Building, 44150 W. Maricopa-Casa Grande Hwy.

Narcotics Anonymous is at 7 p.m. at Maricopa Community Church, 44977 W. Hathaway Ave.

Parents of Addicted Loved Ones (PAL) meet at 7 p.m. at Maricopa Behavioral Health Services, 21300 N. John Wayne Parkway, Suite 103.

TUESDAY

Seniors play Pinochle at 8:30 a.m. at Santa Cruz Elementary School, 19845 N. Costa del Sol Blvd.

Seniors play Canasta at 1 p.m. at Santa Cruz Elementary School, 19845 N. Costa del Sol Blvd.

Celebrate Recovery Coffee & Karaoke is at 5 p.m. at Maricopa Community Church, 44977 W. Hathaway Ave.

Heritage Academy Job Fair is at 5 p.m. at HomeSmart Success, 19756 N. John Wayne Parkway, Suite 100.

Breakfast for Dinner with Santa is at 6 p.m. for students of Saddleback Elementary School, 18600 N. Porter Road.

City Council Regular Meeting is at 7 p.m. at City Hall, 39700 W. Civic Center Plaza.

WEDNESDAY

Creative Sisterhood meets at 9 a.m. at Santa Cruz Elementary School, 19845 N. Costa del Sol Blvd.

Babytime is at 9:30 a.m. at Maricopa Public Library, 41600 W. Smith-Enke Road.

Harrah’s Club 777 Toastmasters meet at 3 p.m. at Harrah’s Ak-Chin Casino, 15406 Maricopa Road.

S.M.A.R.T. Kids meet at 3:30 p.m. at Maricopa Public Library, 41600 W. Smith-Enke Road.

Maricopa Police Explorer Post Meeting is at 5 p.m. at Maricopa High School, 45012 W. Honeycutt Ave.

MUSD Governing Board meeting is at 6:30 p.m. at Maricopa Unified School District Administration Building, 44150 W. Maricopa-Casa Grande Hwy.

THURSDAY

Seniors play Pinochle at 8:30 a.m. at Santa Cruz Elementary School, 19845 N. Costa del Sol Blvd.

Seniors play Farkle at 9 a.m. at Santa Cruz Elementary School, 19845 N. Costa del Sol Blvd.

Seniors play Canasta at 1 p.m. at Santa Cruz Elementary School, 19845 N. Costa del Sol Blvd.

Family Story Time is at 4 p.m. at Maricopa Public Library, 41600 W. Smith-Enke Road.

A Ray of Hope meeting of Narcotics Anonymous is at 7 p.m. at Ak-Chin Social Services, 48227 W. Farrell Road.

FRIDAY

Seniors play Pinochle at 8:30 a.m. at Santa Cruz Elementary School, 19845 N. Costa del Sol Blvd.

8-Bits video gaming is at 4 p.m. at Maricopa Public Library, 41600 W. Smith-Enke Road.

Santa at Maricopa South Pole is 6-9 p.m. at Maricopa Santa, 44267 W. Cypress Lane.

Strength & Hope Al-Anon Meeting is at 7 p.m. at Community of Hope Church, 45295 W. Honeycutt Ave.

SATURDAY

Santa Run & Ugly Sweater Run are at 8 a.m. at Copper Sky Regional Park, 55345 W. Martin Luther King Jr. Blvd.

Santa at Maricopa South Pole is 6-9 p.m. at Maricopa Santa, 44267 W. Cypress Lane.

SUNDAY

Santa at Maricopa South Pole is 6-8 p.m. at Maricopa Santa, 44267 W. Cypress Lane.

Narcotics Anonymous is at 7 p.m. at Maricopa Community Church, 44977 W. Hathaway Ave.

Photo by Jim Headley

Rodeo at Ak-Chin Indian Community’s Masik Tas always includes a junior rodeo for Native American children, and this year was no exception. The many competitive events included mutton bustin’, roping, stick-horse races and bull riding. Though a light-hearted affair overall, a teen was reported to have been seriously injured in the bull riding and was transported from the rodeo grounds to a medical center. The main rodeo continued Sunday morning with jackpot team roping. MasikTas.ak-chin.nsn.us/rodeo

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Photo by Jim Headley

The Gin Blossoms, Tempe-based favorites, played a free concert at Ak-Chin Circle for Ak-Chin Indian Community’s annual Masik Tas on Friday. Vertical Horizon was the opening act.

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Central Arizona College Maricopa campus

By Angela Askey
Executive Director Public Relations and Marketing

The Central Arizona College (CAC) chapter of the National Society of Leadership & Success (NSLS) recently held its inaugural induction and awards ceremony, including 20 members from Maricopa and Stanfield.

CAC’s Chapter of the NSLS was established in August 2018. By the end of the fall semester, 209 new members joined. Ninety-one students completed the program and received a Certificate of Leadership Training honoring their achievement and lifetime membership in the NSLS during the Dec. 6 ceremony.

The NSLS is the nation’s largest leadership society with 950,000 members representing 700 universities and colleges nationwide. In addition to honoring excellence, the NSLS provides a systematic program for members to build their leadership skills through participation on their campus.

Local inducted members receiving their leadership certificate were:

Bailey Abel, Maricopa
Karen Aguero-Mancillas, Maricopa
Michaela Bustos, Maricopa
Mariena Dearstyne, Maricopa
Ashley Dobbs, Maricopa
Tanesha Joan Freytes Colon, Maricopa
Nicholas Gartland, Maricopa
Theresa Harkabus, Maricopa
Alexis Lindsay, Maricopa
Yadhira Osuna, Maricopa
Samantha Ricardo, Maricopa
Peggy Rider, Maricopa
Nery Rojas-Leo, Maricopa
Julianna Sanudo, Stanfield
Laura Sanudo, Stanfield
Timonyeh Shines, Maricopa (exec officer)
Daniel Swann, Stanfield
Emily Taft, Maricopa
Yuliana Toledo Avila, Stanfield
Madeleine Van Sickle, Maricopa

To become an inducted member, students must follow a step-by-step program designed to build leadership skills through participation on campus. The first step is an orientation followed by a leadership training day where the students identify goals and their true passions to create actions steps for achieving their goals. The third and fourth steps include participation in three speaker broadcasts and three success networking team meetings. Following each meeting, they submit a reflective journal entry online. The final step is induction.

Inducted members can move on to obtain an Advanced Leadership Certification and Executive Leadership Certification by continuing their activities with NSLS.

The CAC NSLS members recognized nine CAC employees for their service to the campus and community. Honorary memberships were presented to Dr. Jenni Cardenas, Vice President for Student Services; Michelle Gomez, Academic Division Assistant; and Dr. Sandra Rath, Professor of Speech Communication.

Dr. Liz Baroi (Professor of Psychology), Heather Moulton (Professor of English), and Fotini Sioris (Professor of Biological Sciences) were honored for Excellence in Teaching.

Also honored by the chapter were Celina Salinas (Assistant Director of Recruitment), Mark Ebert (Academic Advisor), and Gail Nettles (Project Director for TRIO Student Support Services).

 

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Photo courtesy Maricopa Historical Society

Born in 1946 in Ak-Chin, Armida Mattia learned the art of O’odham basketweaving from her grandmother. Her baskets have been presented to governors, senators and presidents. In 2004, the Smithsonian National Museum of the American Indian purchased one of Armida’s baskets for its collection.

Last year, her baskets were among those donated to the Maricopa Historical Society by local historian Patricia Brock. Ak-Chin’s Oral History division of the museum set up a meeting between Armida Mattia and the MHS Collections Committee.

Armida identified many of the baskets as hers by the stitch that was made and stated she used mainly yucca, black devil’s claw, bear grass and cat tails when weaving the baskets. A two-part owl basket and a large basket made especially for Harry and Patricia Brock are among the many baskets she wove.

Patricia gifted several baskets to the Maricopa Historical Society for safe keeping for the people of Maricopa.



This item appears in the December issue of InMaricopa.

Scott Oliver

By Scott Oliver

Maricopa Master Gardeners are developing a new demonstration orchard at the Maricopa Agricultural Center.

Irrigation has been installed; citrus trees are in the ground. Our purpose is to demonstrate, using “backyard orchard culture” techniques to successfully grow a variety of fruit in a small space. In the spring, we will plant stone and seed fruit trees. We also plan to trial several varieties of pomegranates.

Here’s why:

Pomegranates are easy to grow, have beautiful flowers and are well-suited to our desert environment. They are native to southeastern Europe and Asia and have been cultivated in ancient Egypt, Babylonia, India and Iran. The Spanish brought them to Mexico, California and Arizona in the 16th century.

Although pomegranates have not attained the popularity of other fruits in the United States, they are worthy of a place in your backyard garden.

Pomegranates (Punica granatum) grow as woody plants that more closely resemble shrubs than trees. Mature plants are usually 6-12 feet tall and can easily be trained to a tree form or espaliered against a wall or fence. Pomegranate plants are deciduous, have small oval leaves and are somewhat thorny. They require full sun and tolerate our alkaline soils, summer heat and winter lows to 10 degrees F. They are somewhat drought-tolerant but should be irrigated like other fruit trees for optimum fruit quality.

Mature fruits are 2-5 inches in diameter and have purple to reddish skin (some varieties are pink). The fruits resemble apples but are actually berries and ripen in August and September. Inside the tough outer skin are hundreds of seeds, each surrounded by a membrane that encloses a juicy pulp. This is the edible portion of the plant.

Plants are available from nurseries and garden centers usually in five-gallon containers. “Wonderful” is the best fruiting variety for our area.

To propagate from cuttings, remove shoots 6-8 inches long that are the diameter of a pencil or larger. Cuttings should be taken in February or March and placed vertically in soil with the top, dormant bud exposed. Dusting with rooting hormone on the cut end will enhance root formation.

Pomegranates are shrubby because they produce many suckers from the root and crown area. To encourage a tree-like form, select one trunk and remove suckers on a regular basis. Once established, applying a balanced fertilizer can enhance fruit quality and plant vigor. Young trees should receive about two pounds of 10-10-10 or similar in November and March. Mature trees can use twice this amount applied at the same times.

Scott Oliver is retired from Pacific Bell Telephone Company and a member of Maricopa Master Gardeners.



This column appears in the December issue of InMaricopa.

Murray Siegel

By Murray Siegel

Each school-day morning, a bevy of yellow school buses head north on State Route 347.

These are not Maricopa district (MUSD) buses taking students on field trips or to competitions. These buses are taking more than 1,000 Maricopa children to schools in Phoenix and Tempe. Each child represents a loss of $4,199 per year from the state, and since these students live in homes where education is important, it is reasonable to assume their attendance at MUSD schools would raise test scores.

The time devoted to travel could be used for more productive activities than sitting on a school bus. Given the distance from school to home, are these students restricted in the after-school activities in which they can participate? Why would parents subject their children to these limitations? When asked, parents mention special programs available at the Kyrene and Tempe schools, programs funded by the many overrides passed by voters in these districts, unlike most of the recent override attempts in Maricopa.

I personally have observed at a number of MUSD schools and have seen exceptional classroom teachers. The award-winning middle school blended-learning program and the investigation of rocketry at Butterfield Elementary School have been highlighted. Did folks take notice of the improvements occurring in our schools? InMaricopa, online and in print, has covered recognition received by MUSD schools and personnel. Do the citizens of our city (including the parents of the bused students) read these articles and see all the significant accomplishments of MUSD schools?

I would ask you, the reader, to take one of two actions. If you are a parent whose child rides the bus to Kyrene or Tempe, please contact me at siegel.educ@gmail.com and answer two questions: Why do you send your child on the bus to Kyrene or Tempe? Also, what should MUSD do to allow you to consider having your child attend school here?

If you are a parent of an MUSD child or are a volunteer in an MUSD school, write and tell me what you have observed that makes you believe there are some excellent personnel in MUSD schools and that MUSD students are receiving an exceptional education. The results will appear in a future column.

Murray Siegel, Ph.D., has 44 years of experience teaching mathematics. He is in his fourth year as a volunteer at Butterfield E.S.


This column appears in the December issue of InMaricopa.

Bernadette Russoniello
Bernadette Russoniello

By Bernadette Russoniello

Colleges and universities frequently use the terms “fit” and “match” to help students determine their best educational options. Match reflects a student’s eligibility and academic performance required for admissions; fit reflects the community and culture the school provides.

Arizona offers many respectable and desirable options for higher education. Take a trip with me across a few of our Arizona options.

Arizona State University

America’s largest public university and ranked No. 1 in Innovation by Forbes magazine, ASU offers students a diverse array of competitive, Research-I opportunities at four campuses around the Valley in a cosmopolitan urban setting. ASU also offers the most generous financial aid packages for lower-income families.

University of Arizona

Arizona’s oldest and original land-grant college, U of A offers students a more traditional college experience – red brick buildings, large commons, chiming clock tower and an infused sense of community and spirit in a college town. Diverse and eclectic, U of A blends the feel of tight-knit community at a large-size, Research-I school.

Northern Arizona University

The smallest of the three publics, NAU offers programs exclusive to Flagstaff, including dental, physical therapy and forestry. Bonus: four seasons, skiing, pine trees and hiking! NAU also offers the most generous academic scholarships – requiring minimal test scores and grades for scholarship test scores. A 3.0 earns $4,000 per year, a 3.5 awards $8,000 and full tuition for students earning all A’s and B’s.

Embry Riddle Aeronautical University

ERAU offers a private, top-tier experience in aviation, aeronautics, engineering, software, cybersecurity and global intelligence near Prescott. During my campus tour, I was with three families who flew in from out of state. ROTC programs abound for students seeking a competitive degree in these fields. Small class sizes, simulators and one of the country’s largest planetariums are features at this niche school.

Grand Canyon University

GCU is a private Christian college recently returning to its nonprofit status. GCU offers an intimate, student-centered experience focused on academics, work opportunities, and faith-based gatherings and events. Free concerts and athletic events for all students and a contagious sense of belonging infuse this campus.

Yavapai Community College

One of five residential community colleges, Yavapai hosts tremendous CTE and vocational programs ranging from service dog and air-traffic controlling to radiology and viticulture (winemaking and agriculture) while offering dorms and a community performing arts center.

Coconino Community College

CCC offers apartments on the NAU campus and provides students with transfer support to NAU.

Advice when considering college options: Be aware of accreditation. Regional accreditation means other schools and universities will accept and transfer credit; national accreditation only works within that school system. Also, if your school is not on the FAFSA list for receiving financial aid, you may want to be cautious in further considerations.

Bernadette Russoniello is the Career and College coordinator at Maricopa High School. She can be reached at BRussoniello@MUSD20.org.


This column appears in the December issue of InMaricopa.